Love: The Good Drug

 

It’s needful I hold on a bit longer

Until I’m ready to say goodbye

Whether it’s good for me or not

 

Ween myself from his love?

But if I quit cold turkey

There’s no detox for broken love

 

So, I need to love less in miniature increments of time

And then maybe one day I’ll be strong enough to say

Goodbye without remiss; without a tear

But with gladness and good riddance

 

But right now, I’m hooked on his drug

And today I cannot say

No, I don’t want it this way

 

Will I always want some

Every now and then to keep me satisfied?

Just a quick hit and that’s it…until next time

 

Eventually….

I’ll detangle and break free

Village of Calumet Park, IL: South Suburban Treasure

As a Village of Calumet Park resident since 2013, and having previously missed the previous Annual Community Day Parades, I decided last Saturday, August 5, 2017 it was not going to happen. The signs read 9 to 11 am for the parade; therefore, I reluctantly turned over in bed and got up around 8 am, determined not to miss the event. However, when I arrived at 127th street, I didn’t see a soul! First thought was, “Oh, are we on CP time?” (If you don’t know what CP means then ask somebody.) So I hung around a little longer, but after thirty minutes I thought, “Am I missing something everyone else knows?”

Then I remembered a message left on my cell phone from the Village, it was one I didn’t bother with. So I pulled out my phone, listened to the message, and sure enough the parade officially started at 10:00 am. So I was an hour early! I hate being too early, and not being one to sit idle for long, I decided to run an errand, thinking  I could probably catch the parade near the end of its route around 10:30 am.

 Village of Calumet Park Community Day Parade

 

Not sure if I ended up on Bishop or Throop, but I found a great spot and was happy to see Calumet Park residents out and about looking forward to enjoying the parade. We were not disappointed as several community dance troupes came through with some amazing routines. Check out this short video clip https:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvuPYeUJkfM

I heard great music, took picture of the participants and was surprised at how many folks participated in the parade! I love parades and this one was as good as many I’ve seen. Several bands marched in the parade, it was quite impressive.

Calumet Park: A Place to Live Work and Play

I met a resident who said she’d been living there since she was four years old. Her parents moved to the Village over 45 years ago, and she decided later as an adult to purchase her own home and raise her family. We both discussed the diversity of the community, the racial makeup when she first moved there and the current one. She spoke very positive about a growing community. Calumet Park has a few of its old residents, but what’s great are the incoming residents over the past decade. A community made up of Hispanic, Black, White, and several other ethnicities reflecting the diversity of this country.

About Calumet Park

Calumet Park is a Chicago south suburban community offering an excellent school district for its families. This small community offers Burr Oak Academy, Burr Oak Elementary, and Calumet Elementary School. While it doesn’t have its own high school, as a resident Alan B. Shepard High School, Dwight D. Eisenhower High School, and Harold L. Richards High School are potential options. This alone is very attractive to parents who are looking for good schools and options from private school tuition.  Want to learn more? Please visit the village website at, http://www.calumetparkvillage.org/

The Village of Calumet Park retains its sense of community and definitely is reminiscent of a small town feel, with several generations of families making it feel like family. Mayor Ronald Denson, of course, was out as usual during the parade, walking the course, greeting everyone, and taking photos.

Mayor Denison-Maddy B

People make neighborhoods special, and great people make neighborhoods great. Don’t hesitate to make or call the Village of Calumet Park home! I do!

 

 

CHICAGO BEVERAGE TAX: ONE CENTS TOO MUCH

What are Rahm, Preckwinkle, and Chicago’s elected aldermen thinking? They should be paying people to stay in Chicago, not running them out. Really???!!!

Chicago’s Beverage Tax

Soda TaxDo you really think folks are going to stop drinking Pepsi? Heck No! (Okay I wanted to say something stronger.) But they will go to neighboring suburbs to purchase their soda instead.

I gave up soda a few years ago. Too much high fructose corn syrup can destroy your health, and most artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame can too. I can’t even fix my mouth to consume anything with 50 grams of sugar per serving, but that’s neither here nor there, or the real issue here. I will buy Kool-Aid and Domino sugar before I pay one-cents per ounce for tea, soda, and any beverage that has this ridiculous tax attached to it!

Stop Drinking Soda Pop? Don’t Be Ridiculous

And Preckwinkle sounds foolish trying to justify the tax, saying Chicagoans will suddenly stop drinking Pepsi? Are you kidding me? Have crack addicts stop taking crack? Have alcoholics stop drinking booze? Have people stopped smoking cigarettes? Aren’t folks still dying of heroin overdoses? Stop already.

Dang (again, I wanted to use something stronger) Chicagoans are already paying a 7 cents tax on bags in retail locations. It’s hilarious seeing folks walk to their cars with shopping carts and arms full of un-bagged groceries.  But I get it! It’s not that folks don’t have 7 cents, it’s the principal of the thing.

7 Cents Bag Tax; Red Light Cameras

The nation is hearing about Chiraq being the murder capital of the world, and now it can also go down in history as the tax capital of the world. Rahm, just how much of a burden are you going to ask Chicago citizens to bear? Not to mention the income tax hike recently approved  for Illinois.

We’ve got the freaking (okay, once again would like to have said something stronger) red light cameras at every intersection in poor urban areas (well, okay I am exaggerating-a bit) assessing exorbitant fees on drivers who can least afford it. Pretty soon, folks won’t be able to afford to drive in Chicago. Is that what the city wants?

Adios Amigos!

IndianaI am already considering moving to Indiana, and staying close enough to the border to still visit Chicago when I need to. Folks already travel to Indiana to buy cigarettes, gas and other items. Go ahead Chicago politicians and make it so that your residents buy as much as they can outside the city limits. Kinda defeats the purpose for all those taxes, including the Chicago Beverage Tax.

And are Chicago’s children who are attending poorly funded schools going to see a drop of this new tax revenue? Heck no!! Couple these tragedies with what’s going on in Washington and it’s a prescription for despair, disaster, and stress.

Say Something! – I’m Giving Up on You

Say somethingNormally, I try not to listen to the news because lately it’s just one horrid story after another, which makes it difficult for me to retain my sanity. So I apologize, I don’t listen every day, but somehow the garbage filters in anyway.

  • People! Say something! Do something
  • Don’t buy soda in Chicago!
  • Drink Kool-Aid
  • Make lemonade
  • Buy the thing-a-ma-jig from Target and make your own soda.
  • Bring your own bags to the grocery stores

Some Times Eye

 

I (eye) can be introverted and extroverted

Compassionate or unfeeling

Influential and yet powerless

Self-centered yet thinking of others more than myself, realizing it’s not about me

 

Crowd

I can be very approachable or very reserved

I can appreciate a crowd, yet cherish being with myself

 

Chameleon

I can be all things to all people (once describe as a chameleon)

Yet I can be happily “just me”

My diversity seems to be my undoing

My inconsistencies seem to work against me rather than for me

It’s difficult to find and maintain meaningful relationships

Sometimes – I (eye) find myself …….

                            ….. HUNGRY….

Thankfully – G.I.M.R.A.

God Is My Refuge…Always

TOO MUCH

Over the last several years, two business entities have grown exponentially in Chicago. One is public storage facilities and the other is kidney dialysis centers. Totally unrelated businesses, but they do say much about the mental and physical conditions of Chicago’s residents. People are gathering to themselves way more than they need, and wreaking havoc in their bodies with unhealthy lifestyles.

When Is Enough Too Much?

What exactly are people putting in public storage containers? Okay, there are some practical reasons for its use such as downsizing, temporarily staying in smaller living quarters, and needing a place to store valuables. But what’s in your container?

Public Storage

Folks Just Can’t Let Go of Their Stuff.

They’re emotionally attached to inanimate objects. They’d rather hold on to their stuff, than give it away to charity or even to family members who actually need it. What’s the point? Enlighten me. You just purchased new appliances, but you keep the old ones in case you will need them again? So, you pay $90 a month for a storage unit. It’s been three years! You’ve already purchased new appliances twice!

Get attached to your children, your spouse, your parents, and even your God. But for goodness sake, let go of your stuff. If you haven’t used it in a year, then it’s time to hand it over to someone who can. And let’s not consider the stuff you have in your attic, basement, and garage. When your physical space is cluttered, it says something about your mental space as well. With so much clutter is difficult to make decisions and have control and authority over your life.

Too Much of a Good Thing

Recently, a new dialysis center popped up on 108th and Halsted on the south side of Chicago. It took over a Walgreen’s building. I noticed these centers are popping up like grocery stores, everywhere. And the only reason for these centers are that folks have either lost the functioning of their kidneys or it’s grossly compromised. So, I am like dang, what’s up with that?

Why are people eating themselves to death? Food is for life. When does a pork chop taste so good that you want to subject your body to exchanging blood three times a week to live? This is not normal and certainly not the way God designed our body to function.

Kidney Dialsis CenterYou’ve Got Other Things To Do

The process sounds gross: “It’s a treatment that takes over your kidney functions if those organs stop doing their job. Your blood is put through a filter outside your body, cleaned, and then returned to you. ” This is why yearly physicals are important. You might feel okay, but your blood pressure is wack, and you don’t even know it. Yearly physicals also check kidney function, and if you know you have some messed up habits, all the more reason to have yourself checked out. Don’t be scared! Knowledge is power. Fear DIALYSIS, not the doctor.

Consider This

The rise of public storage facilities and kidney dialysis are indicative of ills that plague society. Things, your stuff and the over consumption of food and unhealthy lifestyles are not what’s important. You and relationships with family, others, and God are what you need to cling to.

“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:20

Still In Love With LOVE

It’s the end of 2016 and this was my year of love; all my years were years of love but this year even more so. Given the divisiveness, distrust, disgust, despair, and disasters that have been the recent landscape of this America, it provoked me to wonder if love has anything to do with anything. A line to one of Tina Turner’s song runs through my mind asking the question, “What’s love got to do with it?” And my answer was then and now still is, everything.

marvin-gaye Marvin Gaye’s question “What’s going on?” rings loudly in my ears. Has the world taken love and buried it under a rock somewhere? Has it become a gift obtained conditionally from conditional people. Yes, I have a hard time loving everybody. I have a hard time dealing with personalities, relationships, family, friends, and coworkers who are sometimes very difficult to love. But I haven’t and I will never give up trying to spread love instead of hate.

 

love-makes-the-world

Deon Jackson in 1966 recorded the hit song, Love Makes the World go Around. It’s why we live, why we do what we do for ourselves and for others; Love is simple yet complex, and something we can’t live without, at least not happily. We must endeavor in 2017, those that make it across the river, to understand what it means to love.

The Apostle Paul said: “I may be able to speak several foreign languages, and even the heavenly language of tongues, but if is without love my words are incoherent and no one understands them. Even if I am an eloquent speaker or preacher, and can dissect the mysteries of the gospel, if I do it without love I am an empty vessel. Even though it is a blessing to give above receiving, or be willing to die as a hero, these acts without love add nothing to my spiritual bank account: I am considered bankrupt!” (1 Cor. 13:1-3).

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 The ultimate lover: Jesus, and Because of Love He gave himself. We are not finished yet, let’s take this spirit of love with us into 2017 and beyond!

Peace….

A Few More Days To Go

Hillary Lost?!! 

So, she didn’t win? Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on how you look at it) votes are being recounted.

What I had to do about this election and the chaos that has followed it, was to step back and take ownership of who is actually in control, because somebody greater than I, is. I needed to be calm and realize nothing is going to happen that isn’t supposed to.

And?!!

We are not going to die before it’s our time, and eggs aren’t going to stop being hatched, and the earth will revolve as long as He says so. Since I can’t control the outcome of a lot of things, including people, a deep look into me was necessary. Therefore, I’ve decided to spend the last few days of 2016 seeing how I can look towards a better 2017. More to follow.

Put voter apathy in the trash were it belongs – Vote!!!!

 

I realize that a lot of mud has been slung in the presidential race. I know that our choices are weak, and the decision for many has come down to the lessor of two evils. Be that as it may – please vote for Hillary Clinton. If you don’t vote it’s a vote for the Trump person. It does matter if the evilest one wins (I mean Trump).

hillaryWhy Hillary Should Get Your Vote

The KKK endorses him in their newspaper. The fraternal order of police endorsed him. Neither of the organizations are friends of brown and black people. He will appoint one or more United States Supreme Court justices, which could literally bring back “Jim Crow” and even jeopardize the freedom of many citizens of color. Don’t stay home and then complain when your Section 8; link card; federal education grants, pell grants, and other government benefits are taken away. I am just trying to get ya’ll off your butts and vote!

God Is In Control-BUT!

I know, God is in control, but even Jesus paid taxes. Don’t be lax, and say that God don’t want you to participate in the political process. I believe he most definitely does. There is a better choice. No I do not agree with several moral issues in the Democratic party, but that said, let’s not be completely stupid. VOTE! VOTE Early.

The polls are showing that black folks are staying home, please, please, your grandparents died so you could vote. Put voter apathy in the trash were it belongs.

Okay, I’ve said my peace. I had to. This is a critical moment.

Let The “Chuch” Say Amen

Recently I attended the church I spent my young adult years at. The reason was a bit sad because Deacon Fred Berry was called to glory by his maker, God Himself. Deacon Berry is one of the significant legacies of New Hope Baptist Church, 2301 Rhode Island, Gary, Indiana. He was in a sense the Shepherd for over 50 years in the official office of Chairman of the Deacon Board, but oh, he was much more than that. On August 13, 2016 he once again united New Hope Baptist Church’s membership as we gathered together in one place to say our goodbyes.

As I sat there taking in the joy of seeing and hearing my choir sounding like the choir of yesteryear, “my heart was glad and my glory rejoiced” and inside I almost burst I was so full. To put the icing on the cake was when our prized choir director, Michael Berry who was also one of Deacon Berry’s sons, upon the unction of the Holy Spirit, got up and directed the old New Hope Mass choir at his Daddy’s service! (Lord Do It!) And Oh the joy that flooded my soul!

Andre Crouch wrote a song and some of the lyrics said, “Take me back dear Lord, to the place where I first believed.” For about three hours, I went back. I took a journey to a time when “chuch” was church! When sermon series were unimportant, when every first Sunday you could hear the same sermon about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and not grow weary of the hearing it (Reverend Clarence Loddell, made it sound like music every time). I went back to the third Sunday musicals and I heard Mrs. Mary Barnes and Ms. Bertha sing,” There will be peace in the valley for me someday, and I’ll be changed from this creature that I am.” I remember, New Hope Mass Choir foot stomping and toe-tapping songs Mississippi style… “There’s a lily in the valley bright as the morning star.” It was here that I first got the “Holy Ghost” and “shouted.”

And I realized as I sat there soaked in the glory of the past that over the last several years this is what I’ve been searching for in today’s church. I miss the gospel of Jesus Christ in the church. The basics seem to have disappeared, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). Too much emphasis is placed on entertainment, and trying to mirror how the world does it. The Gospel is the same, but we’ve changed. Yes, even though we’ve dug deeper and biblical scholars have researched, studied, analyzed, and taken apart the gospel, we’ve become so fixated with dissecting God’s word we’ve made more complex than it needs to be. It’s not. Remember, Jesus took unlearned, uneducated men, and solidified a relationship with them, so much so that they spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.

In the new church, “Dr. Watts” songs and hymns are replaced with “praise and worship” songs lead by the best singers in the churches worldwide. But, I missed the Deacons praying as service began. What happened to those meaningful catch phrases of Dr. Watts?

                     I love the Lord, he heard my cry, and pitied my every groan

                     Long as I live while trouble rise, I’ll hasten to his throne

                     I’ll let you know, before I go, what shall become of me

                   I’ll wait until the spirit comes, and move at God’s command

These are just a few of the ones I remember. I am sure you can call out a few of your favorites too. Now many services are organized and timed to perfection. It’s a get in and get out mentality; worship should only take a specified amount of time. Letting God have his way during service might take too long.

Lately, I have been going from church to church trying to capture the spirit of what church used to be. I haven’t found it yet. I say that because I know it’s still out there somewhere, and I believe by the grace of God, it’s coming back. I don’t want to have to go a “homegoing” service just to have church again, and to feel that God is truly in the room.

There seems to be a thought process running through the Church: anything goes, this is inappropriate. Go ahead, somebody got to say it! The saying, “come as you are” to church has been taken to a whole other level. Since when did God say, it’s okay to sag your pants and show your underwear in church? Because it’s the style; it’s in vogue; air-bodi doin’ it? This goes to both men and women, wearing “skin tights” shirts, jeans, skirts, and whatever in church. Why does everyone need to know what God gave you?

It was once understood that “come as you are” meant once saved then you’ll learn better- NOT! Because the world is in the Church. In the effort to bring in the unchurched, we’ve become lost along the way. We feel the need to look like the world and be like the world. I say we, because I’ve been guilty too. But, the Word says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2).

The New Testament opened up with these words from Jesus, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  He knew us and He began with a strong message. Put away your foolishness, because I am here. I have come to save, heal, deliver, and set the captive free. Yes, you are allowed to be you, to live and have fun, and to have a life. Just remember, who you are in Christ Jesus. He promised us an abundant life (John 10:10).

As I end this long blog note, and keeping in mind that I’ve attended church maybe ten times this year and that’s including funerals/homegoings, I believe God may be calling some to minister differently or to seek other ways to impact the world for good. I ask myself now how can I impact God’s Kingdom as I go about my daily life? I think reaching, teaching, encouraging one person at a time is meaningful. Church today has changed so much to me, but that’s because I am old school and it’s hard to get with the new church. Anyway, staying close to God and his Word will, I believe, lead us to where we need to be. I want to be in fellowship with a church membership, but I can wait until God says when and with whom.

OLD WOUNDS: Forgetfulness A Blessing in Disguise

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Healed Scars of the Past

There are some wounds so deep, if you were to remove the harden scabs they’d begin bleeding so profusely you’d be unable to recover from them again. This is why sometimes atrocities of the past are purposely forgotten and deeply buried. One must seek God’s wisdom and his will before reopening such wounds.

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Open: Only if Need Be

These heartaches and burdens should only be reopened or explored if truly beneficial, never to satisfy personal or professional curiosity. Even God, once we are forgiven and accept His saving grace, remembers our sin no more. I advocate leaving some wounds closed so that one may be healed. Let the wound be so healed that it does not leave a scar.

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Proceed with Caution

However, if wounds of the past remain open and bleeding, and impacting every area of your life today, then by all means begin the opening process, so that going forward you can begin to apply the healing balm of Jesus Christ and be free!

 

Flower-FlickerScott Robinson-FlickerJelle Oostrom-Flicker